NEON GENESIS EVANGELION is the first extended comic work of studio Gainax
cofounder, character designer and key animator Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (THE
WINGS OF HONNEAMISE, NADIA: THE SECRET OF BLUE WATER). Previously, Sadamoto's
longest professional manga had been ROUTE 20, serialized in NEWTYPE between
December of 1991 and April of 1992 (but never collected), a 63-page story
based on a never-produced anime concept Sadamoto developed with fellow
Gainax member Mahiro Maeda.
During 1994 and 1995 Yoshiyuki Sadamoto developed the EVANGELION story together with anime director Hideaki Anno, reprising the partnership they had shared on NADIA. The first installment of the NEON GENESIS EVANGELION manga appeared in the February 1995 issue of the Kadokawa monthly SHONEN ACE, and had been running for a good eight months before the TV show premiered on 4 October of that year. Just as the EVA anime is unmistakably the statement of Anno, the EVA manga is Sadamoto's own interpretation of the basic story. Like the anime show itself, which routinely swept Japanese fan awards such as Animage's Grand Prix, the EVANGELION manga was the 1996 winner of Japanese manga-focus magazine COMICKERS' fan poll for best manga.
The EVANGELION manga is therefore more than simply the anime in comic form. Although the basic events of each anime episode occur in the EVA manga, the way individual scenes unfold is often quite different from how things happen in the TV show, with the characters present, their dialogue, and course of action all being factors that may vary. The upshot of this is that every installment of the manga will have surprises in store, even if you've already seen the corresponding anime. If you haven't seen the anime yet, you'll soon certainly want to....
In the first installment of the manga, for example, before Shinji even arrives at NERV headquarters, Rei engages the Third Angel, using the Eva Unit-01 that will later become Shinji's to pilot. You won't find this incident in the first episode of the EVA anime. Shinji, our protagonist, also displays a subtle shift in character. He is somewhat less withdrawn in his actions than in the anime, yet more openly cynical about the results of action. Compare Shinji's remark to Misato about NERV's purpose as they enter its headquarters; he says it in a neutral manner in the anime—but in a markedly sarcastic tone in the manga. And check out the '`institutionalized''-esque essay with which Shinji opens the story....
In the end, how will the EVA manga compare to the anime what will Sadamoto emphasize how will he diverge in his treatment of the most talked-about title in years? That's for readers of Viz Comics' release of NEON GENESIS EVANGELION to discover and delight over. And for the first time with EVA, Viz offers the fans, in simultaneous release, a mange in both the standard "flopped" left-to right format, and a special "Collectors' Edition," with variant cover, that presents the EVA manga with its art and sound effects unreversed, exactly as Sadamoto drew it and as his Japanese audience read it. Each will be translated—but how you wish to view the artwork is your choice.
In March '98 Viz Comics proudly presents Neon Genesis Evangelion: Book Two, the continuation of the smash hit comic series by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto! Japan's biggest combination anime and manga hit of the last five years, as seen on U.S. home video from A.D.V. Films, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a surprising, controversial and powerfully psychological science fiction series which takes the familiar 'giant robot' genre into territory never seen before.
The year is 2015. The twentieth century nearly ended with a millennial last judgment, when, the history books say, a meteor accelerated to relativistic speeds struck Antarctica in the event known as the “Second Impact,” after the strike from space thought to have killed the dinosaurs millions of years before. The catastrophe wobbled the Earth’s axis and melted the polar cap, flooding coastlines and causing climactic change that killed half the human race within a year.…
A decade-and-a-half after that disaster, the human race has made a semblance of recovery, but the reality is that the peace is no more true than the story that it was a meteor which caused the Second Impact. The inquest into the truth, and the end of our brief respite, will occur in EVANGELION’s main setting: Tokyo-3, an artificial construct of a city built on Lake Ashino in the Hakone region of Japan. With its laundromats, schools, subways, and convenience stores, it’s like any other town—except that its skyscrapers can be retracted below ground, and beneath that surface is the super-technological “Geo-Front” headquarters of NERV, a secret organization nominally under the United Nations. In reality, Tokyo-3 was constructed as both a fortress and a trap for an incredible adversary whose very existence is unknown to the general public.
But not for long. The “Angels” are coming to Tokyo-3: solitary, immensely powerful beings of variable size, shape, and weaponry. Their motives and origin remain completely unknown at the beginning of the series to all but a few, and those who do know, aren’t talking, engaged in a power struggle over the incredible secrets of the human past surrounding the Angels, and the incredible promise of the human future offered by the mysterious “Instrumentality Project” which NERV labors to complete while fending of the ever more insidious penetration of the Angels, who learn from every attack. In the very first episode, a desperate UN military learns that even a tactical nuke will only slow an Angel down; the beings are possessed of an “A.T. Field,” named for the “absolute terror” it inspires, that renders them nigh-invulnerable.
NERV, long anticipating the Angels’ attack, has developed the only weapon
that might be useful against them: a humanoid bio-mecha, the Evangelion,
which can generate its own A.T. Field, which, canceling that of the Angel,
allows them to close in for brutal hand-to-hand combat. The Eva Units contain
strictly limited internal power (in fact, at first they run off extension
cords), and their combat strategy is centered around confronting the Angels
as they come into Tokyo-3, whose massive elevators, power cables, and weapons
caches are all designed to support the Eva. The three Eva units, however,
can only be piloted by certain 14-year-olds, known formally as the “Children,”
who can “synch” with them, although what qualifies any particular Child
to do so also remains unknown.…
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Book Two, a five-issue monthly series, is written and drawn by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto from an original concept by Gainax. Issue #1 is 48 pages long and retails for $3.50 in the U.S. and $4.75 in Canada. Issue #2 is 40 pages long with four full-color pages and retails for $3.25 in the U.S. and $4.40 in Canada. Issues #3-5 are 32 pages long and retail for $2.95 in the U.S. and $4.00 in Canada.